Covenant College is a Christian liberal arts college, located in Lookout Mountain, Georgia, with a co-educational enrollment of approximately 1,000 students. A member of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU), Covenant College was ranked by Forbes Magazine as #117 among the nation's colleges and universities.
In 2010, Draper & Associates and the Adams Consulting Group were engaged to conducted a facility condition assessment of fifteen buildings on campus and to develop a Facilities Portfolio Management Program. Facilities Portfolio Management is the role of maintaining, renewing, and managing the facility assets of the University in support of its educational mission. Facilities Portfolio Management is critical to ensure institutions are not solely based on reactive maintenance and short-term budgeting for renewal characterized this outdated practice.
The Draper Approach
The facility condition analysis is the baseline for any campus facility renewal initiative. Typically, a survey of the campus facilities by architects and engineers creates a database and financial model of the renewal needs for the campus. Colleges have conducted facility audits for a number of years. In the past, these resulted in large lists of deficiencies or projects that summed up to a very large deferred maintenance total. This cost often created shock or disbelief within the administration and had mixed results. Following Draper’s methodology to facility condition analysis, this practice was replaced at Covenant College by a more meaningful and realistic approach. Interviews and facilitated meetings established the performance measures and functional requirements that the campus stakeholders required of their facilities. These mission support requirements were coupled with the professional requirements of building engineering, architecture, maintenance management and code compliance. Assessing the campus facilities using this intelligent approach produced performance, condition, and budget data that was specifically linked to the mission of the College and was easily measurable. This was the foundation of the facility condition analysis that was performed on the Covenant College campus.
For this engagement, the Director of Facilities Management & Planning determined that the baseline space standards used for a previous FCA at another College, depicted below, were the criteria that should be used for the FCA at the Covenant College campus:
- Regulatory and Code Compliance
- Weather Tightness/ Building Envelope
- IAQ and Control
- Lighting and Acoustics
- Scalability and Adaptability
- Building Utility System Reliability
- O&M Best Practices
Each facility and each facility system was assessed using these baseline space standards. The scores were averaged and summed to yield composite scores for each building. Consistent with the Covenant College approach to rationalize the FCA results into actionable data, the buildings were sorted into three categories. This sorting into categories enabled the appropriate capital planning and funding process to be linked with the applicable buildings. Treating the building as a “whole entity” (essentially a collection of individual deficiencies), enabled the College to think more strategically about building conditions, rather than tactically. This “holistic” approach sorted buildings into three categories: “A” – those buildings which will achieve their full life-cycle through conscientiously applied preventive maintenance and retiring the backlog of deferred maintenance; “B” – those building for which the backlog of deferred maintenance and capital renewal is of such magnitude that the building is a candidate for total renovation; and “C” – those building which were essentially a place-holder for a future building on campus and should be demolished at some point in the future. Rather than a piece-meal approach of retiring individual deficiencies, the College was able to make strategic decisions on how to best apply limited resources.
The data on over $13 million in deficiencies was loaded into a database to facilitate reporting. A strategy for maintaining and updating the data was developed to ensure this initial investment was not lost. Of the fifteen buildings surveyed, eleven fell into Category “A,” and the other four were in Category “B” or candidates for total renovation.